There is an often-used metaphor about a frog in boiling water that goes like this :: A frog thrown into boiling water knows to jump out, while a frog placed in a pot of water, slowly warmed to the point of boiling, will die because it is slowly acclimating to its demise.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the pandemic life of a stay-at-home mother of two young children. In the first year and a half, I believed that sooner or later, life would return to some sort of normalcy. In a way, it has, but in so many other ways, it hasn’t. I very much believed that my staying home and taking extreme precautions about exposure and not embarking on unnecessary errands or playdates to see others was a sort of heroism and sacrifice. I do still believe it was the right thing to do. What I don’t think I realized is that it’s taken a large toll on me as a parent.
As many return to their workplaces or have children in school, they seem to have this connection to information that I just don’t feel I am privy to. I still very much remember playgrounds being taped off, libraries closing, and strong warnings not to go anywhere or do anything that could further spread the virus. The lifelines and routines I had at that time were gone, and I’m not even sure how to start pursuing them again. When our pediatrician asked my daughter if she did any extracurricular activities, my initial thought was, “Is that even allowed?’
Is that even allowed?
Heck, I don’t even know how we managed to run errands for a full morning. I had to do it today for the first time with my kids, and we could not cope. I felt overwhelmed and truly exhausted by the end. My youngest doesn’t even know the normalcies of errand-running, and he is two and a half. As quickly as the pandemic changed life, I am feeling the need to remember so many things that it took away.
So, to circle back to the analogy about the frog, I feel like it captures how these 2 years have changed me. I’m a frog in a world that I had to warm up to. In a way, I feel like the world is boiling and I need to jump out before it takes me under. It’s time – again – to establish those routines of getting out of the house for story time and think about extracurriculars. It’s time to build my stamina around being out and about with my kids. It’s time to do all of the little things that used to keep me afloat as a parent, all with safety in mind. It’s time to start saying “yes” when the answer always felt like “no”. I can’t be the frog that doesn’t make it out of the boiling water.
How are you adjusting to life as the world slowly “opens back up”?